I learned last week that I will be fitted with a prosthesis somewhere around Christmas. Everyone tells me that this is a perfect Christmas present and I agree! But maybe for a different reason.
The deep theme of Christmas is the sovereignty of God. At Christmas God turned the universe upside down. For centuries people had faced the prospect of being confronted by either the wrath or grace of God, no one could be sure which it would be. But when God came into the world as one of us he exercised his sovereign freedom in a way no one had fully expected. For those who recognize his coming, Christmas means that for them the threat of wrath has been replaced by the fact of grace.
That part of the Christmas message is what makes my prosthesis a perfect present. My survival, rehabilitation, and recovery show that the Lord who changed the history of life on earth at Christmas is still blessing and transforming his creatures. No doubt my healing is a gift but it is a minor one. The greatest gift was given at the first Christmas because that gift makes all other gifts possible. Every last one of us can look daily to God confident that we have a friend who having lived as one of us understands our needs and hears everything we have to say to him. That is the true joy of Christmas.